When joycreation was born in 2010, my goal was to make it a light and happy place. As the name states, it was supposed to be a place of creativity and joy. An avid blog reader myself, I love all the beauty, creativity and inspiration you can find out there. However, at some point that’s not enough. At some point you long for more substance.
On March 29, Jess Constable of Makeunder My Life created and published the very first list of “Things I’m Afraid To Tell You”. Little did she know, her post would inspire an entire movement among bloggers, all willing to come out with their not-so-nice truths. Together with her friends Erin and Nichole, Ez of Creature Comforts was the first to spread the word, and it was the three of them, who designed the image you can see above. Recently, Laura Rossi wrote an entire article about it, which you can find on Huffington Post.
I’ve been following this movement ever since, and the more I read, the more I felt compelled to share my own list of Things I’m Afraid To Tell You. So, a couple of weeks ago I posted in Blogstar, one of the wonderful blogger forums I’m honored to be a member of, and asked others to join me. Four people responded, and then the wonderful Robin of Farewell Stranger brought along even more bloggers. The result: another round of things we’re afraid to tell you!
Here’s my list.
1. I’m not religious. I don’t think I ever have been. At the very most I would describe myself as spiritual. I think of myself as open-minded towards and curious about different belief systems, but I have zero tolerance for people who use religion to discriminate against others.
Are you still with me?
2. I have commitment issues. Thankfully, this doesn’t apply to my relationship with my partner Dave, but certainly to areas related to school, my career path and hobbies. I have started way more in life, than I have completed. As a matter of fact, there is nothing I’d rather do right now, than bail on this very post in front of you! (and I’m the one who initiated this week’s round! What was I thinking?). Which brings us to #3.
3. I never finished my undergrad degree. You could blame it on the fact that I began supporting myself at the age of 18 and that I was more committed to work, than my studies. Or that I left Germany, and moved to the U.S. (where schools cost more than a fortune, if you hadn’t heard). Or maybe, that I wasn’t passionate about the things I was pursuing. Or I lacked trust in my abilities to pursue my passion. Or maybe I needed to learn different things first, being that parts of my twenties were overshadowed by an eating disorder, anxiety, depression and self-doubt. I think the truth is a blend of all of these. But, here’s the bottom line: I don’t have a degree. And I’ve been downright ashamed of it. At age 33 I’m ready to go for it. I’ll keep you updated :)
4. I deal with social anxiety. A lot. I worry about what others think (I’m worrying about what YOU’RE thinking right now!). I worry about not being liked. I feel responsible for other people’s actions. I worry about not being smart enough. Funny enough. I seem to read people’s facial expressions more than necessary (which leads to all sorts of interpretations). Believe it or not, I could continue this list. My natural inclination is to avoid uncomfortable situations, so I’ve turned down many invitations over the past years and let phone calls go unreturned. Obviously, this has caused others to feel rejected and hurt, and I feel horrible about that. I am working really hard on breaking this pattern.
5. I’m a procrastinator extraordinaire. It’s embarrassing. That doesn’t mean I’m not able to make deadlines. If I really need to have something in by a certain time, you’ll get it on time. However, you won’t want to know the last minute scrambling that went into it.
6. I’m horrible at sending out Thank You and Holiday cards. Horrible. You would think it’s solely related to having to write the card (which has been true in many, many cases. I dread having to write cards, in either language). But there have been several occasions on which I’ve written them, without ever sending them off. Every now and then I come across one of such cards. I can’t even get myself to toss them! If I do make it to the post office, it’s usually on the day they were supposed to arrive. Or later. I really need to work on this one.
7. As an adult it has been difficult for me to make new friends (after reading #3, 4 and 6, this may not be a surprise.) If I feel an instant connection, I’m able to trust fairly easily and it’s likely we’ll be good friends in no time. However, these kinds of connections seem harder and harder to find. And this is where it gets tricky: for many years I found it a ‘waste of time’ to invest in anyone I didn’t feel a certain connection with (very convenient attitude for one with social anxiety). While I used to think, that wanting to have in depth friendships was as a positive trait, I’m starting to find it a rather limiting way of navigating the world. After all, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation. It might as well be a nice blend of different types of levels of connection. As I’ve moved to a different continent, switched careers and have become older, I’ve found myself longing not only for my far-away friends, but also for more local connections. (I know, it’s quite a contradiction to #4!) I want to become more open to others, instead of setting myself up for social failure. Sometimes relationships take a while to evolve, and I don’t seem to give them a chance. I want to change that.
8. I come from a broken family. I don’t think I’ve ever said this out loud, mainly because I don’t like the picture associated with “broken”, but the reality is: it’s messed up. My parents divorced when I was four, and throughout most of my life I haven’t had any contact to my father. Per his choice he ended all contact for many, many years of my upbringing. I don’t think of him as a “bad” person, rather as someone who has had his own set of issues. Which shouldn’t sound like an excuse (because really, there are not many excuses for dumping your own child). I also have a younger half-sister, whom I met once, shortly after she was born, when I was five. However, my father never was involved in her life either and as an adult I never felt the urge or necessity to make contact with her.
My family has always been spread across several countries, and so my mother didn’t have any direct family support, when I was small. Given the circumstances, I think she did an amazing job at making the best of the situation. She also created a wonderful network of friends that have been part of our lives, ever since I was small. So, maybe that’s why I don’t like to use the word broken. Because, really – even though my mother worked full-time – she always made sure I was surrounded by loving people. There are many more things I admire about my mother, such as her positivity, elegance and strength. However, mother-daughter relationships aren’t always easy and our relationship has gone through many ups and downs, and continue to do so.
9. Dave is a whopping 16 1/2 years older than me. Most people are stunned, when they find out about his actual age, because he looks about 10 years younger. For the most part the age difference hasn’t been an issue for us or our families, however, it does make future (and family) planning a little more challenging. Also, I’m always afraid of him dying. But that’s another topic.
Now I could go on, but that’s good for today. Thank you for bearing with me, and I hope I’m not losing my small, and faithful group of readers with this one post (refer to #4.) As you can imagine, I’ll be a nervous bundle after I hit the publish button. Any comment love will be much appreciated :)